THE program that saved US Gold the trouble of trying to program Gauntlet on the Amiga returns. Rainbow Arts' Garrison was so much a Gauntlet clone that the Birmingham mob gave them little choice but to sign up. Fabulous sampled music on the Gothic title screen, hundreds of sprites, slow but worthy scrolling, and endless hours of mindless entertainment made the original program a "must have" purchase for Amiga owners.
There were a few flaws with Garrison I, not the least of which was all the player characters looking the same unless you had a one meg machine. But if you thought that Garrison II would sort them all out, think again.
Yes, despite being sold for another £25 as a standalone program, the so-called sequel is indeed just another set of 128 levels in a castle. To hammer home the point, you can use the program disc from G I with the data disc from G II, and vice versa.
The only differences are that a rather pokey loading screen has been added, the plot has changed, and that a bit more thought has been expended on some of the designs for the levels.
The new story is that the princess has fallen ill and five of her trusty lackeys have been charged with recovering a healing herb from the top of a magician's 128 storey tower.
Whether there is in fact a herb is open to conjecture, since there's no way that I can get anywhere near the top, and I doubt very much that any one else will either. Garrison II is hard with a capital H.
Although I liked the original music, it's a bit of a con not bothering to change it - every sound effect has been faithfully reproduced. At least the levels are more fun now. The invisible mazes were extremely frustrating and I haven't come across one in the new version. It's obvious that the programmers have a rather vicious sense of humour. When you have experienced the level called Deluxe Pain 2 you'll know what I mean.
Garrison II is recommended, but not if you don't have loads of money, or have Garrison. If you have the original you'll have to answer the question, do I cough up £25 for a new data disc?
It is a pity that Rainbow Arts hasn't improved the gameplay in areas like letting four players on screen simultaneously. Maybe we'll get that in Garrison III.
Anyway, it's still a cracking program, and nearest thing you are ever going to get to Gauntlet on your Amiga.